In its final seminar of the year, the Guernsey Association of Compliance Officers (GACO) welcomed the newly-appointed Principal Ombudsman and Chief Executive of Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman (CIFO), Douglas Melville, to discuss his role and how the organisation will interact with financial service businesses in Guernsey.

GACO chairman and Carey Olsen partner, Mark Dunster, said he was keen for Mr Melville to speak to an audience of compliance officers as they were involved in regulation and risk and were most likely to have considerable interaction with CIFO.

During the seminar Mr Melville outlined the importance of building a relationship with industry to ensure  a meaningful dialogue.

Mr Melville discussed the issues the ombudsman office was facing including difficult jurisdictional issues related to financial disputes.

He also addressed the extent to which the ombudsman could become a guide to future trends and issues by using patterns of complaints to identify common problems. He hoped that by giving early warning  on certain trends to industry associations such as the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, problems would be solved sooner.

Advocate Dunster said: "It is interesting  to see the pragmatic way that the ombudsman is proposing to conduct office. It is not just seen as being there to investigate individual complaints against financial services firms (many of which the members of GACO represent) but also to look at wider public policy considerations to ensure that problems for consumers are reduced to a minimum in the long term.

"The seminar  gave compliance officers the opportunity to interact with the ombudsman in a more informal setting and it also created a good degree of 'buy-in' from regulated entities.

"This should ensure a better working relationship between parties, which is crucial to the success of the Ombudsman scheme."

The Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman opened for business on 16 November. For more information please visit

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